Halo: Combat Evolved



This sci-fi shooter with loads of violent killing of aliens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Violence, minor cursing exhibited in a war-like environment .


Continuous battle throughout the game. Blood and violence abound.

Not applicable

An ample dose of minor swear words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is very popular, and it's likely that your child will have access to play or at least observe this game at some point. Most of the game consists of fighting in a non-stop, science-fiction-based battle against aliens. Blood and violence abound, making it best for those 16 and up.

What's it about?

HALO takes place in the future, where humans are fighting a losing battle against the technologically superior \"covenant,\" a group of alien beings driven by radical religious beliefs to destroy all humans. To make things worse, it appears they have found a new weapon of incredible power: \"HALO,\" a mysterious and massive ring/space station orbiting a foreign world. As the game progresses, the player discovers an enemy even worse than the covenant: It would seem that while the covenant was attempting to activate halo, they inadvertently released \"the flood,\" a vicious alien life form that survives by taking over the body of an organic host and then spreading to the next victim. Once released, \"the flood\" immediately begins possessing the covenant and humans alike, and the player realizes \"the flood\" must be stopped to prevent the destruction of the entire galaxy.

Is it any good?


As first-person-shooter games go, HALO was inventive for its time, and even now, it's a graphically appealing game. The game has an interesting and mysterious story, and allows the player to pilot and drive cool vehicles, and be immersed in a massive battle around a foreign planet. But the game has the same pitfall as many other first-person-shooter games: Ninety-five percent of the game is simply shooting things that get in your way.

The game tells a very dark tale, and most of the game consists of one continuous battle with plenty of blood, screams of agony and explosions. HALO is a first-person, shoot-everything-that-moves type of game. The action is infectious, and the story, while somewhat typical, is well-written and interesting. Plenty of bloodshed and a storyline that will most definitely scare younger players relegates this game to the 16+ crowd of gamers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why this game has become one of -- if not the most -- popular action game franchises of this generation. Is the sci-fi story so much better than other games? Does the level of violence make a game like this more immersive than its competitors? Is blood necessary in a 3-D shooter or is falling down enough to confirm the enemy is dead?

Game details

Available online?Not available online
Release date:May 30, 2003
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M

This review of Halo: Combat Evolved was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • A bloody, action-packed, sci-fi shooter sequel.
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  • Well-made strategy game breaks from Halo shooter tradition.

What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byprotectivefather123 April 9, 2008

This is a great game for kids 11-12

Okay, i am a very protective father. I let my son by the first halo, and i watched him play, and it was not as bad as people say it is. I hear my friends saying "Oh, this is a terrible game never let your children play this." Please don't believe anything you hear.
Adult Written bymdog April 9, 2008
I played through the whole game and i don't understand how this games should be rated M. The language isn't bad and also your fighting aliens not humans. There is quite a bit of blood but it isn't bad because it green and blue. I believe any child over 12 can play this game. Now i'm not the video game type but i grew to enjoy playing this game.
Parent of a 12 year old Written byA.I. March 26, 2011
This is a great game. I have a kid who loves it, and even better, i let him get this instead of black ops, hahaha. do yourself a favor parents, this is your answer to black ops, assassins creed, and deadspace.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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